Wednesday 21st June saw the end of a three week public inquiry into the fate of Druridge Bay.
Save Druridge, the local opposition group and Friends of the Earth showed why this area’s value is far greater than 3 million tonnes of coal. Local people spoke from their heart of the tranquility of the beaches, the abundance of wildlife including pink foot geese, and the jobs in the sustainable tourism industry. Expert witnesses showed that coal’s rein is over and the final nail in the coffin could come before the government’s proposed phase-out of 2025.
Bank’s tried to claim it is a sensitive business, ignoring its history of issues with leaky lakes, inflated jobs statistics, ugly land restoration and failing to deliver on other approved sites in England and Scotland.
The planning inspector was alarmed by Bank’s decreasing options for sorting out waste mine water and saw through promises of ending sand extraction from the beach.
Druridge and the surrounding villages have seen their share of coal mining. Nature has crept back and softened the lines of previous destruction. The residents have rallied together in a brilliant sustained campaign against this mine, even though the short-sited council approved the application last summer.
This case is already a historic one. It is the first planning application to be Called In on climate change grounds and the first coal mine application which had been approved by the local council to be re-decided by the Secretary of State.
Everyone who spoke against the ludicrous mine did an amazing job. Let’s hope that the planning inspector and Secretary of State make the right decision and stop this mine, setting a strong precedent against the other three applications remaining in the planning system.